Minus the hyphen

 

I work as an artist curator, minus the hyphen. I attempt to balance both roles: seeking the concentration and focus of making images, objects and installations that are directed at the individual viewer; embracing the collaborative and enabling task of shaping exhibitions and events that are created in the company of others.

 

As an artist, I work invariably with a high definition camera, but my intention is to reach beyond the image - towards the making of an effective and affective object, perhaps even an experience. Inevitably, this leads me to explore both materials and the immaterial, scale and the use of space. As well printing on art paper, I print onto aluminium, acetate and fabric, especially linen and cotton. When appropriate, I like to let the prints hang freely, unmounted and unframed, so they can respond reflexively to movements in the air. And I use translucency to animate the prints further, as they alter their appearance in response to changes in the light. Although these frequently large prints are at the centre of my output, recent exhibitions have included video projections, sound installations and handmade books, or booklike objects.

 

As a curator, I seek to create exhibitions that both generate and contribute to conversations that cross boundaries and widen horizons. In addition to visual artists, my exhibitions can include contributions from performers, using action, movement, speech and music. 

Asking questions

 

As an artist, writer and filmmaker I have always asked questions. Most frequently the question is Why? And I have always sought to cross boundaries, push limits and challenge definitions. Can a camera produce work that is more like a painting than a photograph? Can visual art be used to explore the invisible? Can an image become an object? Can a still picture become moving sculpture?

I ask all these questions and more in a central strand of my current work: large, translucent fabrics hanging from and between trees, in clusters and formations. As light shines on and through the cotton sheets they dramatically alter their appearance. As breezes and winds make them move, whether gently or violently, they become kinetic sculpture. They also become a way of bringing the viewer’s attention to the ever shifting elements that flow through our lives. Because they are so familiar to us, it is easy to ignore these natural processes. But, as we have increasingly and alarmingly begun to discover, we ignore the actions and reactions of nature at our peril.

For me, the painterly patterns that I print onto translucent cotton (and other media) are themselves descriptive of these invisible processes. The visual effects created by water and wind help me to imagine the endless exchange of energy inside the smallest atom or the largest and most distant galaxy.

Over many years I had the privilege of asking questions as a filmmaker, travelling the world, mostly for international broadcast … making meaning with pictures. But it became inevitable that I would ultimately concentrate my focus on the visual arts. My films on art and artists have been shown at the Tate and National galleries in London, the Metropolitan and Witney museums in New York and the Pompidou centre in Paris.

Now I make and exhibit my own artworks from bases in Somerset, Bristol and Bath, in South-West England. I am an associate artist at Spike Island, Bristol, and at the Royal West of England Academy. I also regularly curates and exhibits at the annual FaB festival of contemporary art in Bath, and occasionally at other venues. My work has been exhibited and is in collections in Europe, Asia and the Americas.

 

Artist curator    

filmmaker    writer    photographer 

 

Recent and forthcoming exhibitions include: 

 

2020 Happenings @ Walcot Chapel, Bath (artist and co-curator)

FLOW Light&Air, Cotswold Sculpture Park, Gloucestershire

About Trees, Heritage Courtyard, Wells

2019 B-Wing, Shepton Mallet Prison, Somerset;

Reformation, The Bishops Palace, Wells;

Paper Structures, Spike Island Studios, Bristol;

FLOW Reflections on Water, The ICE Space, Bath; 

Movement, Access, Barrier, Tate Exchange, Tate Modern, ActionReaction, Spike Island printspace,Bristol

 

2018 LIVE, Walcot Chapel, Bath and other venues in the city (artist and curator); 

Unity in Diversity, Gabriel Fine Art at 508 King's Road Gallery, Chelsea 

 

2017 Digital Takeover, Bath Digital Festival; 

Law of Identity, 44AD Bath; 

Time after Time, North Wall, Oxford (artist and curator); 

Conversations with the Wind, TTTFF, Totnes (artist and curator) 

 

2016 Storylines, 44AD Bath; Find another Bath, 44AD Bath; Open Square, RUH, Bath; Utopia:Dystopia, FaB16 Festival, venues across Bath (artist and curator);

Direction, Centrespace, Bristol;  Waiting Room ­art and science 44AD with Bath University 

 

2015 Deck the Walls, 44AD Bath;  

Out of Time, Gabriel Fine Art, Waterloo, London;  

SAW, Red Brick Building, Glastonbury; 

Love & Death @ Walcot Chapel, FaB15 Festival, Bath (artist and curator);

Still, 44AD, Bath 

 

2014 Deck the Walls, 44AD Bath; Festive, Andelli Arts, Wells; 

Art of Nature 3, Balaji Temple, Birmingham;

Eighth Wonder, 44AD, Bath; Forest of Imagination, 44AD Bath; Timeslip, FaB14 Festival, Bath; Windscapes, Dorchester County Hospital, Dorset 

 

2013 Transformations, PhotoPlace, Middlebury, Vermont;

Vinis Vinifera, Dalston, London;

Creekside Open, APT Gallery, Deptford, London;

TM13, Real Fonderia Gallery, Palermo, Sicily;

Lyme Open 2013, Malthouse Gallery, Lyme Regis, Dorset (Prizewinner)  

 

2012 SCOPE, Miami, Florida;

Colletiva 1, Garage Bonci, Pietrasanta, Tuscany;

Immersive video presentation for Cultural Olympiad, ICCI 360 degree Arena, Olympic sailing venue, Weymouth, Dorset.

 

Film presentations and talks include: ICA, National Gallery, Tate and NFT, London - Modern Art Oxford - Ikon, Birmingham - Orchard, Edinburgh and others across UK - MoMA, Metropolitan, Whitney and Broadcasting Museums, New York - Pompidou Centre, Paris - National Gallery, Sydney.

 

As well as making my own artwork I have made films featuring visual artists as diverse as Rembrandt and Jean Michel Basquiat, Giotto and Joseph Beuys, Michael Nelson Tjakamarra and Anselm Kiefer. History, politics, belief and ideas run as continuous strands through my work as a fillmaker, but so too do the sensuous and emotional.

 

I have travelled the world as an award-winning filmmaker, most often in the context of international broadcast. This has taken me to close to 60 countries and has given me a wide frame of cultural reference. It has also given me the privilege to work closely with writers of the eminence of Edward Said, Alice Oswald, Simon Schama, Salman Rushdie, Edward Bond, Michael Gilsenan, Fay Weldon, Yves Michauxd, Felipe Fernandez Armesto, John McCarthy; musicians with the eminence of Simon Rattle, David Byrne, Andy Sheppard; and dancer-choreographers with the eminence of Merce Cunningham, Siobhan Davies, Bill T Jones, Karole Armitage, Wim Vandekeybus, Tamasaburo. I have worked with hundreds of less illustrious people but that has not diminished, in any way, my sense of privilege to both represent and learn from them.

 

I was a co-founder of Illuminations, one of the most successful London-based production companies, focussing on contemporary culture. My photographs have been published widely in newspapers and  magazines. I have contributed as a photographer to several books and have been sole photographer on two. 

 

I am an associate artist at the Royal West of England Academy, Spike Island, Bristol, and a committee member of FaB, Fringe Arts Bath. 

 

 

 

 Select filmography 

 

THE ARTS

 

STATE OF THE ART. A much-praised and much-pilloried six-part series on ideas and images in the nineteen eighties. Illuminations  Channel 4 /WDR Cologne. 6 x 1 mins

BFI Grierson award nomination.

 

SHOOTING STAR, a celebrated posthumous portrait of the American artist Jean-Michel Basquiat. Illuminations for Channel 4. 1 x 60mins

 

SHOCK OF THE NEO, a playful exploration on questions of originality in art. 1hr. Channel 4.

 

L’OBJET D’ART A L’AGE ELECTRONIQUE, a playful exploration on the status and value of art, made for the opening  night of the French cultural network La Sept. 1hr.

 

THE VANISHING REMBRANDTS.   An exploration of questions of authenticity, focusing on the Rembrandt Research Project, based in Amsterdam. 1hr. BBC / Arts Council of Great Britain coproduction.

Winner grand prize, Bratislava Film Festival.

 

IVANOV GOES TO MOSCOW  A study of actors under pressure, starring Ralph Fiennes, Harriet Walter and Bill Paterson. A journey with the company of Almeida Theatre to Moscow, where they performed Chekhov’s first complete play, IVANOV. 1 hr. Channel 4/National Video Corporation.

Indy nomination.

 

THE MERCE CUNNINGHAM TRAVELOGUE. A portrait in movement of the great choreographer. 1hr. LWT.

 

DANCING, an eight-part series  for  PBS in America in coproduction with the BBC and RM International . Filmed on six continents, the most ambitious presentation of dance in its social, cultural and historical context ever produced for television. 1hrx8. 

Malta Prize at the International Festival for Films on Dance, Paris. 

Dunlop’s episode Dance Centrestage final nomination Primetime Emmy.

 

THE BIG READ: GREAT EXPECTATIONS

David Dimbleby entertainingly puts the case for Dickens’ masterpiece. 30 mins. BBC.

 

LANDSCAPE AND MEMORY.  Three of  five films for an innovative series with the renowned historian SIMON SCHAMA. 5x40mins. BBC.

 

MASKS OF ARCADIA. An intimate portrait of a Japanese community under the pressures of change. BBC/A&E. 1 x 60mins

 

ONCE IN A LIFETIME. A video entertainment with the cult band Talking Heads. Illuminations for Channel 4. 1 x 80mins.

BFI Grierson award nomination.

 

THE MAGICAL INDIAN ROADSHOW. The struggle by travelling entertainers to survive in modern India. BBC 

1 x 60 mins

 

DESERT DREAMERS. The story of the translation of spirtual imagery into the dot painting movement in central Australia. BBC. 1 x 60mins

 

 

THE WORLD

 

THE SHADOW OF THE WEST. A collaboration with the Palestinian writer and intellectual EDWARD SAID. One of four films Dunlop made for the series THE ARABS. Video Arts/Kufic for Channel 4. 4 x 60mins

 

THE RIDDLE OF  MIDNIGHT. A documentary study of the generation of Midnight’s Children, written and presented by SALMAN RUSHDIE.  Antelope Productions for

Channel 4/RM Arts. 1 x 75 mins.

 

OUT OF THE SHADOWS   JOHN McCARTHY returns to Lebanon for the first time since he spent five years in captivity there, as the hostage of Shia gunmen. ORTV for ITV Network.

1 x 60mins

 

PALESTINE STREET  A two-part film to mark the sixtieth anniversary of the Nakba - the "catastrophe', as Palestinians describe the creation of Israel. This intimate and personal film focusses on a street in the ancient city of Jaffa, now a suburb of Tel Aviv. Al-Jazeera English. 2 x 60 mins.

 

FACES OF ISLAM  Personal portraits of prominent Muslims.

4x20 mins. OR Media for BBC 1.

 

FAULTLINES  An exploration of the complex relationship between religion and politics in six contrasting societies – USA, Iran, India, Brazil, Russia, Israel/Palestine. A collaboration with the writer/presenter JOHN McCARTHY.  CTVC for ITV Network. 6x40mins 

 

CHINA UTOPIA  An exploration of the renaissance in China a thousand years ago, and its relationship with the newly-awakening China of the twenty-first century. Illuminations/Muse Films, NY for Christiansen Foundation. 1x30mins.

 

THE WELL OF SACRIFICE, a dramatised film for the Discovery Channel, set in Mexico. It tells the extraordinary story of Edward Thompson, who discovered treasures in the Mayan city of Chichen Itza and smuggled them to the United States at the turn of the century. Atlantic Films for DISCOVERY  1hr.

  

BARRICADES. The attempts of three young women in Lebanon to live “ordinary” lives through ten years of civil war. Thames, ITV  1 x 60mins

 

THE GROWING PAINS OF EDEN and THE GARDENERS OF EDEN  Two films for BBC 2 on this extraordinary environmental organisation. Denham Films for BBC. 2 x 60 mins

 

NEW YORK CLEANS UP, LONDON PRIDE,  NETWORK CITY. Three episodes for a series on the changing face of modern cities. Open University Production Centre for BBC2. 2 x 30mins.

 

ARE YOU CAPTAIN CORELLI?  The extraordinary true story of Captain Amos Pampaloni, the survivor of a massacre on the Greek island of Cephalonia sixty years ago. Made to coincide with the release of the feature film "Captain Corelli's Mandolin". The year's most watched arts programme on BBC  2 in the year of production   BBC Knowledge/ET-1 Greece.

1 x 60mins

 

TO THE MAGIC MOUNTAIN, an intimate film about a pilgrimage from a community in western Nepal to Mt. Kailash in Tibet. Vafe Productions for  FR3, NDR, BSkyB, UFA Non-fiction. 1 x 60mins  Prizewinner Teluride Festival, Colorado and International Festival of Mountain and Explorations Films, Toulouse. 

 

BANKING ON THE FUTURE An extraordinary enterprise conducted by street children in India's capita, Delhi.  Al-Jazeera English / ORTV. 1 x 30 mins.

 

EDUCATION IN CONFLICT  A study of children and young adults struggling to gain an education in Gaza, Afghanistan and Iraq. Qatar Foundation /Al-Jazeera English. 2 x 60 mins.

 

GOD’S BUSINESS  An investigation of the relationship between money and power in the oldest of the great multinational enterprises, religious institutions around the world. Reporter John McCarthy. Al-Jazeera English / ORTV. 6 x 30 mins.

 

 

RADIO

 

LEBANON: The Next Generation

KURDISTAN: A State of Uncertainty

Primetime documentaries for BBC Radio 4 which I co-wrote and produced with my longterm collaborator John McCarthy.

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

   

 

 

Geoff Dunlop

ARTIST CURATOR